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Match Report | Galway United 9-1 Kerry FC (First Division)

Galway United maintained their 100% start to the season with a thumping 9-1 victory against Kerry at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.

United continued their impressive start to the season with a record-breaking performance in front of jubilant support at Eamonn Deacy Park.

It was the first time that United had ever scored nine goals in a competitive fixture, and John Caulfield’s men started the game on the front foot. Ronan Manning and Ed McCarthy caused problems for the visitors, who struggled from the outset to deal with United’s intensity.

Kerry’s frustration became apparent as several heavy challenges sparked a fiery reaction from the sidelines. A resulting free kick found McCarthy down the right-hand side, who excellently worked space to get his cross away which deflected over the head of the despairing Wayne Guthrie and into the back of the Kerry net.

United continued to dominate proceedings, neat play from Francely Lomboto set up Colm Horgan to whip a dangerous ball across the face of goal and wide, much to the relief of the under-siege Kerry backline.

The United faithful who turned out in their numbers despite the cold weather, had not long to wait for a second goal. A quickly taken throw-in from Regan Donelon set Manning on the attack, the Galway native drove down the left wing and his cross found its way to McCarthy at the back post to slot home for his second of the game.

The Tribesmen mounted pressure on Billy Dennehy’s side as they relentlessly hassled and harried Kerry as they tried to play out from the back, winning the ball back high up the pitch on several occasions.

Kerry’’s first significant foray into the final third and first meaningful shot on goal came in the 27th minute after good work from Leonardo Gaxha set up a chance for Sean McGrath who fired over from the edge of the area.

McCarthy continued to terrorise the opposition back four as he left two Kerry defenders trailing in his wake before being unceremoniously hacked down by a third.

Donelon delivered the resulting free kick to the back post where Rob Slevin rose highest to deliver a thumping header to the back of the net. United led by three just after the half-hour mark.

Three quickly became four only minutes later as United hit Kerry on the counter following a corner and a brief period of pressure from the visitors.

Kerry were undone by Manning’s defence-splitting pass through the heart of their backline and into the path of the onrushing Slevin who selflessly squared to the supporting Lomboto to tap home for United’s fourth.

There was to be no letup from the boys in maroon, Manning earned another free kick in a dangerous position as the clock ticked into first-half stoppage time. United’s no. 14 stepped up to take the free-kick and cleverly found Stephen Walsh in space in the area. Walsh expertly controlled the ball and spun his man before rasping a shot off the post. The ball rebounded kindly to the edge of the area where McCarthy was once again on hand to rifle the ball into the top corner for his hat-trick goal.

United began the second half in a similar vein to the first, dominating proceedings and creating chances at will. Ten minutes into the second half, Manning teed up Walsh, whose powerful drive was well saved by Guthrie.

With the game beyond Kerry, Caulfield began to ring the changes with Darren Clarke and Ibrahim Keita replacing Manning and Lomboto, and it would be the two substitutes who would combine for United’s sixth.

Horgan’s quick throw-in found Clarke who manoeuvred his way into the box before cutting the ball back to Keita on the edge of the six-yard line to slot home with virtually his first touch of the game.

The travelling Kerry support were finally given something to cheer about in the 68th minute as Nathan Gleeson’s searing pace created space for the winger to deliver a pinpoint cross for Ryan Kelleher to nod past Brendan Clarke and into the back of the United net.

The joy was short-lived, however, as just three minutes later Guthrie was once again picking the ball out of his own net. Rob Slevin’s ball over the top was latched onto by Keita who calmly slotted past the dejected Kerry goalkeeper.

United weren’t finished there. The talismanic Stephen Walsh was visibly hungry to join in on the goal fest. He would get his opportunity from the penalty spot after the former Galway Hibs man rounded Guthrie before being fouled. Walsh then stepped up to blast the ball to the back of the net from the 12-yard spot.

In the closing moments, Walsh would double his tally. Clarke threaded the ball through the eye of a needle to Keita, whose cutback found Walsh to hit the back of the Kerry net once more.

A historic victory sees United remain top of the table with four wins from four.


Galway United (John Caulfield, Manager)

B. Clarke, R. Donelon (M. Nugent 68’), R. Slevin, K. Brouder, S. Walsh, R. Manning (D. Clarke 59’), V. Borden, F. Lomboto (I. Keita 59’), C. Horgan, C. McCormack (D. Hurley 46’), E. McCarthy (M. Rowe 68’).

Scorers: E. McCarthy (10’, 21’, 45’), R. Slevin (32’), F. Lomboto (35’), I. Keita (65’, 72’), S. Walsh (84’, 89’).

Kerry FC (Billy Dennehy, Manager)

W. Guthrie, S. O’Connell (R. Kelliher 46’), K. Spillane, S. McGrath (J. Hannafin 46’), M. Keane (C. Barrett 46’), Gaxha, S. Kennedy, K. Williams, N. Gleeson (A. Ainscough 80’), S. Aladesanusi, R. Teahan (C. Brosnan 80’).

Scorers: R. Kelleher (67’).

Next up, Galway United travel to St. Colman’s Park to take on Cobh Ramblers on Friday, 17th March (Kick-off: 5pm).